Description / Transcription
Let’s pray. Great and gracious Father of Your beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. Grant now that we may see Jesus and know His love and feel His mercy and marvel at His power and believe in His name, to the King, eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen. Amen.
Our reading this morning comes from John chapter 6, John chapter 6, beginning at verse 22 through 34 and then we will skip over to verse 49.
A number of years ago PBS had a series called From Jesus to Christ. You can tell by the very title sort of their angle that there was a man named Jesus and then at some point in the history of the church He became this Christ. The title gives you a sense of who they thought Jesus was, or rather who he wasn’t. Here’s one of their experts. This man was formerly a professor at Brown University, now a very well-respected professor at Harvard. Here’s what he says: “Scholars have long debated what we know and what we think we can know about the historical Jesus. The core of the Gospels is Jesus as the miracle worker, Jesus as a man who made a deep impression upon those whom he came in contact with, his ability to attract large crowds, his ability to attract a dedicated core group of followers or disciples, and a larger group who saw him as somebody special. This man clearly made a mark, left an impression, somebody you didn’t forget, somebody who had power in a social sense. He’s a holy man, a miracle man, someone who gets in trouble with the authorities. He’s constantly in trouble with them as a free-spirited individual, and in the final analysis, this is what does him in.”
Wonder if you heard that what you would think. Hopefully you would think really? Is, is that all we can say about Jesus? That’s it? He was a holy man? He had power in a social sense? He could draw a crowd as someone special? That He was a free spirit? That He really left an impression on people. Is that, is that why we’re gathered here? Is that why you, you got up, got dressed up? Is that why you’re taking time out of your schedule? Is that why you put something in the plate as it passed because Jesus left an impression and He was a free-spirited individual and He really was someone special?
I could introduce you to any number of special someones who leave an impression and are free-spirited and they demand a lot less. Most of your children fit that description. [laughter] And yet we don’t sing songs to them and give offerings to them and gather every week to worship them.
Now I hope that if you’ve been in church for any number of years you would immediately object to that sort of rendition of Jesus and say “Oh, someone special, a free spirit, come on. No, Jesus is the Son of God. He’s the Word made flesh.” And that’s true.
I hope that your theology is better than many of the Harvard professors. But even if you know better than “Jesus left an impression,” let me ask you how much of an impression has He really left on you? I mean really, year by year, month by month, day by day, once you check the box and say “No, Jesus, Son of God, yep, Jesus the Christ, yep, I’ve better theology than most of the people on that PBS special, good, great.”
What sort of impression has this Jesus really left on you? Is He your life? Is He your food? Is your drink? How many of us would ever think to say, when someone asked how is your day, say “well, I feasted on Christ today.”
Follow along as I read from John chapter 6, beginning at verse 22.
“On the next day the crowd that remained on the other said of the see saw that there had been only one boat there, and that Jesus had not entered the boat with His disciples but that His disciples had gone away alone. Other boats from Tiberias came near the place where they had eaten the bread after the Lord have given thanks. So when the crowd saw that Jesus was not there, nor His disciples, they themselves got into the boats and went to Capernaum, seeking Jesus.”
“When they found Him on the other side of the sea, they said to Him, ‘Rabbi, when did You come here?’ Jesus answered them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, you are seeking Me not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. Do not work of the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on him God the Father has set His seal.’ Then they said to Him, ‘What must we do, to be doing the works of God?’ Jesus answered them, ‘This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.’ So they said to Him, “Then what sign do you do, that we may see and believe you? What works do you perform? Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, “He gave them bread from heaven to eat.'” Jesus then said to them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but My Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.’ They said to Him, ‘Sir, give us this bread always.'”
And then we pick up as Jesus continues with the imagery from Exodus 16 in verse 49: “‘Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.’ The Jews disputed among themselves, saying ‘How can this man give us his flesh to eat?’ So Jesus said to them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. Whoever feeds on My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life and I will raise him up on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in Me and I in him. As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever feeds on my, he also will live because of Me. This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like the bread the fathers ate, and died. Whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.’ Jesus said these things in the synagogue, as He taught at Capernaum.”
As you know, the Gospel of John can be divided into two major sections, the first half of the book through chapter 12 is sometimes called The Book of Signs because in this half of the book Jesus performs seven miraculous signs; the water into wine and so on. The second half of the book, from chapter 13 on, is sometimes called The Book of Glory, because in it we have a focus on the glory of Christ, in particular in His suffering, death, and resurrection. Book of Signs, Book of Glory.
Sprinkled throughout those two main sections we have seven “I am” statements, and this is the first of those “I am” statements. We actually skipped over it—verse 35, “Jesus said I am the bread of life,” and then again in verse 48, “I am the bread of life.” He says in verse 51 “I am the living bread.” Same idea.
So, though we’re going to save for another week that middle section with the actual “I am” statement, this whole discourse is the “I am the bread of life discourse.” And it makes sense, following on the heels of what we saw at the beginning of chapter 6. There you remember we saw the miracle of the feeding of the 5000. And so in verse 22, it’s the day after the feeding, the crowds are eager to find Jesus so they’re zipping around the Sea of Galilee looking for Him and finally in verse 25 they catch up to Him and they say “Rabbi, teacher, when did You get here?”
Sounds like an innocent question, but have you ever noticed Jesus doesn’t very much like answering questions, especially when He can tell that there is an ulterior motive, there is a question behind the question. And so He fires back, “Truly, truly, I say to you. You are seeking Me not because you saw the signs but because you ate your fill of the loaves.”
Again, just to stop, we’ll see this again a little bit later when they dispute among themselves in verse 52 and Jesus comes again with “Truly, truly, I say to you.” Jesus has no problem stopping people short. And let’s not kid ourselves. If Jesus were around today, we would be offended by Him. He is very unsentimental, He’s not always very sensitive to people’s needs and their emotional predicament. Sometimes He seems to go out of His way to poke people in the eye, and just when you’re sort of feeling better in that eye, He pokes you in the other eye. They simply asked the question “When did you get here?” Some of us would tut-tut and say “Jesus, now, this is a little bit rude. They’re just asking a question. Just tell ’em when you got there, for crying out loud.” But He doesn’t because He knows what they’re really after, what they’re thinking is, “We just had some amazing fish burgers. That was really cool. And, and we gotta find this Jesus.” You know, the wheels are starting to, starting to turn. “You think he could do that again? You think, kind of, maybe, maybe we don’t have to work? Maybe he just, he is our meal ticket. He’s just there. He’s, you know, I don’t have, I don’t have to wait in line to be one of the first hundred people in line for, for the new opening of a Chick-Fil-A, to get it for a year. You’re just, you’re gonna get this wherever you go. You just follow along with this Jesus. Oh oh oh, and you just get it all the time, all the food you can eat.” That’s what they’re after. He said “you’re after it because your bellies were filled with the loaves.”
You know, businesses do these sort of, these sort of gimmicks all the time. I heard a few weeks ago that Domino’s had done something that if you tattooed part of Domino’s logo somewhere on a visible part of your body that you would get a pizza every week for the rest of your life. Now, they had to discontinue it after about I think five days because hundreds and thousands of people were tattooing. I mean, they were just, “Okay, boom, Domino’s. Just give me food.” [laughter] They grossly underestimated the American public, I think. [laughter] They thought, what, “This is gonna be a news story, we’re gonna have a few dozen people with, you know, the Domino’s thing on their arm.” But no, people are getting out, “I get tats, I get pizza for the rest of my life.” They said “Okay, we’re done with it.”
So Jesus knows what they’re after. To understand what Jesus is saying, we need to, we need to see the importance of that word “signs.” Not because you saw signs. 1 Corinthians 1:22, Paul says Jews demand miraculous signs. The Jews were looking for the Messiah, the anointed one, and they believed this Messiah would display certain signs. It almost could serve as a technical term at times.
Now Jesus is performing lots of them and John in particular records seven. The crowds following Jesus see the signs but they don’t really see what those signs signify. They’re not, they’re not making the connection. We’re seeing messianic signs because this is the Messiah, at least not the Messiah that He really is. They’ll take a military general, but not a suffering servant.
So they’re impressed with the feeding of the five thousand. How could you not be impressed with that? But instead of wanting more of Jesus, they want more food. We see this again and again in John’s Gospel, don’t we? And we see it in our lives. They want not so much the Giver, they want the gift. They have a “gimme god.” Gimme, gimme. Okay? “Yeah, Jesus, can you get me presents? Can you get me food? Can you get me a boyfriend? Can you get me a job? Can you get me good grades? I want that.” They wanted all sorts of things from God, but how much did they really want God?
And so look at what Jesus says in verse 27. “Do not work for the food that perishes.” Now obviously He’s not saying to all of us quit your jobs, never eat again, because all that food is going to perish. No, He’s talking about “Hey, folks, you have an all-consuming passion to get more of that fish and that bread. Let me tell you,” Jesus says, “you need to find something better to work for.”
Now when I was studying it this week, I, I felt convicted there at verse 27. Even as a pastor to think “What, what am I really working for?” What are you working for? We’ve got a lot of hardworking people here. Some of you work very hard. You would not miss a day of exercise and lifting or running or riding or staying in shape. Some of you work very hard at your music, very good at it, you practice and you’re part of the symphony or that or you have dreams. Some of you work very hard at politics and you’re involved and you’re making a difference and you’re out there stumping. Some of you work very hard for your job. You’ve gotten where you are and you’ve steadily gotten ahead, and there’s a lot of people that depend on you. Some of you work very hard at video games. A whole lot of people work very hard at social media, see what’s going on, what just happened on Facebook, who just posted something on Instagram. You know the, you’ve seen that acronym perhaps “FOMO,” fear of missing out. I’m gonna miss something, I’m gonna miss breaking news, I’m gonna miss some viral cat video, I’m gonna miss something, I need to keep, keep scrolling, going, going, going. Some of you work very hard at your health, your diet. You know exactly what you eat and it doesn’t have this sort of fat but it has these sort of good fats. It has not sort of these things and they probably don’t have very many marshmallows in it. [laughter] Shame.
You work hard. I work hard.
Jesus says why are you working feverishly, all-consumingly, for food that perishes? Jesus says you’re not thinking this through. Okay? You’re chasing me around the Sea of Galilee because you want some more of those fish burgers, but you’re not doing the math. You’re devoting all your energy toward what perishes instead of what persists.
Now almost everything that I just mentioned can be good things, some of them are necessary things, and almost all, all of them can be good in the right place and at the right time. So Jesus isn’t saying go live in a cave somewhere with your Bible.
What He is saying is what do you think will really last?
Now don’t get hung up on work, we’re going to get to that in a moment because He said the work is to believe. It’s not a sort of the Pauline sent, you know, sharp juxtaposition between work and faith, He’s just saying work is, what, what are you after? What are you about? What are you striving for? What is your life consume? What’s your passion? Don’t make your passion bread and fish, it won’t last. Just like your house won’t last, your lawn won’t last. Even your family won’t last. What is your all-consuming passion? That’s gonna perish, work for something that will persist.
If you were all going to the beach for the day, and you said “Okay, I’m gonna, we’re gonna be out in the hot sun all day, but don’t worry, I’ll take care of the snacks and the food, don’t need to bring your cooler, I got it all.” And you show up there at 10 in the morning, a hot summer day in the sun on the beach. “What’d you bring?” “I got ice cream sandwiches, I got all the milk you could drink. I have some very fine salmon. I have frozen vegetables. It’s gonna be a great day at the beach.” And you say “You’re not thinking this through.” Those are fine in their own context, most of them, they’re fine, but it’s not gonna last. It’s hot out. The sun’s out. It’s not going to persist, it’s going to perish.
If you were traveling from here to Seattle, would you build a mansion along the way in Topeka? Probably not. Nothing against the fine folks in Topeka. You’d say “I’m just passing through. I’m just, this is, this is not my goal. This is not my destination. I might even tent on my way to Seattle. I’m going across the country, I’m going to work for what will last. Why would I build a mansion in the middle of my trip? This is not where I’m going to live. This is not of any permanence.”
And so Jesus is telling them “don’t zip around the sea looking for Me because you want another meal. Not that meal. I’ll tell you the kind of meal.” So they say “what do we do?” He says “well, don’t work for that.” And they say “well, what must we do to be doing the works of God?”
Verse 28, you can see again the wheels are turning. Okay, work, but what are we going to do? We’re gonna do it, we’re gonna get this done. Tell us, tell us what we need to do. What’s the trick? What’s the magic potion? Where’s the formula? And He says here’s the work I want you to do—I want you to believe.
Now we are saved by faith apart from works, but to live a life of faith requires a pressing, pulling, striving, to keep Jesus front and center in your life. Now if you’ve been around the church for any period of time, this believing language sounds very familiar, and we probably roll our eyes and say “yeah, yeah, I believe in Jesus, right, good. I thought this was going to be a convicting sermon, but yes, believe in Jesus. Got it. Done.”
But don’t miss. He is asking them a hard thing. In fact, in a few weeks we’ll get to verse 60 when many of the disciples heard of it, they said “this is a hard saying, who can listen to it?” So their response in that moment, after this whole bread of life discourse, is not “Oh, okay, believe in Jesus. I can say that. Believe in Jesus. Good. Did it. Done. Let’s get on with life.” Apparently they did not think believing in Jesus meant just assenting to some verbal formula.
No, to believe in Jesus was going to be costly. It would be costly because almost everyone else around them believed something else. At that point nobody believed that Jesus was the Christ, now with any kind of understanding, so that was going to be costly. It was going to be costly because by professing their faith in this Christ they were saying “we depend upon You, and more than that, You’re the One that we’ve been waiting for all of these centuries.”
Imagine Jesus came back, you know He’s coming back and it will be with great fanfare and obvious, but what if it weren’t? What if He’s just here and living among us and we’ve all been waiting for Jesus to come back. And remember Jesus was a very common name, some scholars estimate it was one of the, you know, top six or seven male names, so Jesus sounds really special to us, but it’s just “Brian, where is Brian, is there a Brian? Kevin, Bernie.” It’s a name. And so what would you do when here’s, you know, Jim the Messiah, and Jim says “Do you believe that I’m the Christ?” Now in your mind you’re thinking “I don’t know, Jimbo. [laughter] Um, you’re just, you look like me, you sound like me, you’re just from around here.” That, that’s what they have to come to grips with. This Jesus that some of them knew, knew where He was from, just Nowheresville, knew some of His family. They have to say “Yeah, this One, You’re the One we have been praying about, we have been singing all our songs about, You.”
Well, that takes a lot of faith, which explains why in verse 30 they asked for a sign. What sign do you do? Remember the Jews seek signs. And they quote there from Exodus, chapter 16. He gave them bread from heaven to eat. After the Israelites came out of Egypt, crossed the Red Sea, they spent time in the desert and it was there that God provided manna from heaven.” And it seems that part of the messianic expectation was that the Messiah, a great prophet like Moses, would again feed the people with manna.
There’s a Jewish text called 2 Baruch that dates to within a few decades of John’s Gospel and it says this: “It shall come to pass that the treasury of manna shall again descend from on high and they will eat of it in those years.”
So there may have been a messianic expectation that you’re gonna repeat this manna gig for us. Jesus knows what they’re expecting, and so He sets them straight, and He says “okay, first of all, Moses didn’t give you bread from heaven. That wasn’t, that wasn’t about Moses, that was about My Father. And second, the real bread from heaven is He who comes down from heaven. You had manna come down from heaven. Well, I will tell you the real manna to come down from heaven is the Son.”
So Jesus is saying “You’re right, the Messiah will be a prophet greater than Moses. He will once again bring down manna from heaven. But not the manna that spoils. Remember that? You couldn’t even collect it. You had to trust God to give you enough. If you tried to horde it, it would spoil. No, no, no. I will give you manna that never spoils, that never perishes, that you can keep for all time and I will tell you that I am that manna. Man does not live by bread alone but by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord. That’s what Jesus is saying. “I am that Word, I am that bread. Feast on Me.”
But of course the crowd is not tracking with Him. They’re still thinking “bread, bread, earthly bread. We ate real, okay, bread.” So Jesus makes Himself clear in verse 35: “I am the bread of life.” Again in verse 48 “I am the bread of life.” And we’ll come to that middle section another week.
But then verse 49 He picks up with the explanation of Exodus 16 and He expands the metaphor now to say not only am I the manna come down from heaven, but you must eat My flesh and drink My blood.
Again, we have to put ourselves in their heads. That sounds very obvious to us. We see this table here, we’ve had communion before, flesh, blood. Think about it though. They don’t have this imagery. They, they hear a person in front of them, speaking to them, you must eat My flesh. That doesn’t sound clean, Jesus. We’re not, we’re not cannibals, Jesus. We’re so used to the language of blood and we’re washed in the blood and we’re saved by the blood and we just sing it, we don’t, what is it?
If you get a laceration and, and you start really bleeding heavily, do you think hmm, I want to drink that? No, you think something’s wrong, someone’s hurt, someone’s injured.
This is why in the first century Christians were so misunderstood and one of the misunderstandings is that they were cannibals. People thought, some people thought they didn’t have a god because they didn’t have statues, they couldn’t see it. Some people thought they were incestuous because they had love feasts when they called each other brother and sister, and some people thought they were cannibals because they talked about eating the flesh and the blood of their god.
So we can cut them a little slack in verse 52, “the Jews dispute among themselves how can this man give us his flesh to eat?” And here Jesus follows up, again Jesus is not often the sort of messiah you think He would be nor is He the sort of messiah you would probably like Him to be, if you were there. We, we think Jesus, come on, just help ’em out a little bit. All you have to do is say “hey guys, good question. Time out. It’s kinda like a metaphor, sort of.” But He doesn’t do that. Why? Because Jesus has no problem being misunderstood by those who are willfully misunderstanding Him.
To be sure, if you come with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, He will never deny. But if you’re disputing, if you’re grumbling, it’s kinda like Jesus says about the parables. We think the parables, Jesus told the parables, right, because He was such a master storyteller. He was such a good teacher. No, go read Matthew 13, go read Mark 4. That’s exactly the opposite. Jesus said I tell everything in parables so that for those who are inside they’ll get it and the outsiders won’t get it. And so they don’t get it. He makes no concession to their misunderstanding. Instead, He appropriates their words with all of their offensiveness and He double downs on it, as if to say if you want misunderstanding, I’ll give you more reason to misunderstand. “Truly, truly,” verse 53, “I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you.” Now we see why verse 60 they’ll say this is a hard say.
You can read the commentators and they go back and forth about whether Jesus is talking about the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper. I think Calvin got it right, that’s usually a safe place to land. Calvin says on the one hand Jesus is not trying to lay out the Lord’s Supper, that would have been a category that they didn’t have, they weren’t thinking about a sacrament, and besides what He says here is too absolute, because if He’s really just talking first of all about the sacrament, He would be saying if you don’t ever take the sacrament, you can’t have eternal life, and as long as you just eat this sacrament then it doesn’t matter, you’re just going to live forever. It’s too exact, too formulaic, too mechanical.
So He’s not trying to lay out the Lord’s Supper per se and yet at the same time the spiritual significance of what He’s saying is, we now realize, perfectly captured in the Supper. The Lord’s Supper is a picture of the kind of feasting on Christ that we must do by faith.
So here’s what Calvin says: “There is nothing said here that is not figured and actually presented to believers in the Lord’s Supper. Indeed, we might say that Christ intended the holy supper to be a seal of this discourse.”
So this discourse was not to lay out the Lord’s Supper, but the Lord’s Supper was a seal of the spiritual realities taught in this discourse. Calvin says this is also the reason why John makes no mention of the Lord’s Supper. This mystery is represented in a symbol whenever the church celebrates the sacred supper. Augustin said believe and you have eaten, believe and you have eaten. And we come to this table so that by believing we may eat again. Clearly there’s a metaphor at work.
Look at verse 54. I think it’s the same way of saying what He does in verse 35. Verse 54: “Whoever feeds on my flesh, drinks My blood, has eternal life.” Verse 35: “Whoever comes to me shall not hunger, whoever believes in Me shall never thirst.” Eating is same as coming, drinking is the same as believing. Never growing hungry, never going thirsty, is the same as eternal life. That’s how the spiritual language works. Jesus has made this point time and time again in this discourse. He says this: Eternal life, satisfying life, is to eat Me up, to drink full of Me, to devour Me, to feast on Me.
Don’t make Jesus more spiritual than He is. Sometimes we think Jesus comes along and just says “well, shame on you for caring about your life. Shame on you for caring about food. Shame on you for caring about riches.” But you notice that’s not what Jesus does, all throughout the gospels. What He does is to re-orient us to real life, real bread, real riches.
So here He doesn’t say “oh, why do you want to live? Why do you want food?” He says “I know you want food, I know you want to live. So let me tell you how you live forever. Let me tell you how you feast and never go hungry again.”
He’s not rebuking them for having desires, longings, hopes, dreams. He’s just saying “Think it out. I want you to work for something that will last.” Jesus is saying “I only want you to be fully, abundantly, eternally happy. So don’t, don’t, don’t make that your all-consuming passion. It’s going to spoil, trust Me. Don’t hold out your hope for the manna. All the people in the wilderness who ate the great manna from heaven… Where are they? They’re dead. But if you feast on the One who has come from heaven you will live forever.”
Ten times in this chapter we have that phrase: “Come down from heaven.” Jesus wants to make abundantly clear “I am the One you have been waiting for, I have been sent from the Father, I have seen the Father. If you listen to the Father, learn from the Father, you will come to Me.”
And isn’t that an outrageously arrogant statement for Jesus to make if He is nothing more than a free-spirited man who knows how to draw a crowd? Just a holy man, just a wonder worker. No, Jesus will have none of that. Don’t miss what Jesus is saying: There is no genuine spiritual life independent of me. So all the people and all the nonsense out here, “well, I’m very spiritual but no religious.”
Maybe some of you think that—I can be very spiritual but not religious. I’d say well define both of those terms. If religion to you means man-made effort to prove myself to God, then we don’t want any of that religion. But if spiritual means “I kind of am into sort of God and divine things and angels and, and mysteries and amazing coincidences, but religion, I don’t need, I don’t need doctrine, organized church, Bible, statements, I don’t need that. I don’t need to be locked in.” No, there is no one who is truly spiritual who does not know Jesus Christ, the Son of God. That’s, that’s what Jesus says.
Now here’s what I want you to think of as we close and as we come to this table. We’re liable to misunderstand this passage in one consequential way. We’re liable to hear it and think that’s good, that’s a great word and yes, I believe in Jesus, and I hope everyone here puts their faith in Christ and that’s why I share my faith and that’s why I’m praying that people will become Christians and that’s all good. But notice here Jesus is speaking of a perpetual eating of faith. He doesn’t say “if you want to live forever, one time, one time I just want you to say the magic words. And I just want you to do the prayer and I want you to invite me into your heart. Just do it.”
No, what He says is if you are truly spiritual, if you’re truly born again, you continue to feast on Me, come to Me, live with Me, abide with Me. In other words, eating and drinking are not one-time events. This is the repeated activity of faith. We see this pictured in the sacraments. The washing that is shown forth in the waters of baptism, it’s the washing away of sin once for all. This is to feast again and again and come to this meal of faith.
What are you eating? What are you drinking? How do you eat? I think some of you eat on the go. But if you were to have a real meal with your family, what would you do? It would take some planning, it would take some preparation, it would take some time. Just as it does to feast on Christ. It takes some planning, some preparation, some time. It’s something you do every day. Most of you, unless you’re in, you know, you have a medical test or you’re in a spiritual discipline, most of you, I’m willing to guess, eat every day. And you know what? Most of you like it. Most of you eat more than once a day. You eat three times, including and then additional dessert, elevenses, snack, Goldfish time, second breakfast. We like to eat.
When you get done here and you go home, very few of you will say “you know what? I ate last week.” [laughter] No, you’ll say “what’s for lunch? What’s for dinner? What are we eating? Cuz I like to eat! I want to eat more! I need more food!”
And yet so many of us will say “I did that Jesus thing last week, I did that Jesus thing when I was in college, I did that Jesus thing when I was young.”
Why do you eat? You eat because you know you need it.
Why do you feast on Jesus? Hopefully because you know you need to. You need forgiveness, you need grace, you need God.
Why do you eat real earthly food? You, you do it because it’s a time with family and friends.
Why do you come to this table? It’s a covenantal meal. In the ancient world you didn’t spread a meal for people who were your enemies, it was your allies, your friends, your family.
And ultimately, why do you eat? Why right now? As I keep talking about it, you’re thinking more and more about food. Why? Because you’re hungry and you get hungry and you get thirsty. That’s why people don’t have to remind you to eat because you know “I’m hungry, I’m thirsty.”
Why do you feast on Christ? You will not keep coming back unless you know your hunger and can feel your thirst.
So think to yourself as I’ve been thinking to myself all week: What am I really filling up on? You have a hunger. You have a sense of your sin you can’t wipe away, your purposelessness, something to give you meaning, something to fill the boredom, something to give you a meaning, to chase after and you’re just, you’re just, we’re all stuffing our faces, stuffing our face hoping that maybe if we have our kids do the thirteenth soccer tournament it will finally fill us up. Maybe that new car, or maybe that, another trip, maybe just stuffing, stuffing, stuffing. Maybe that next YouTube video is going to do it.
Are you filling up on Christ? If you’re hungry, and you know you’re hungry and you know what only Jesus can feed you, then this table is the meal for you. Believe, receive, come, follow, eat.
Let’s pray. Our Father in heaven, we give thanks for all of these great and precious promises and ask that You feed us til we want no more, not just manna in the wilderness but the bread come down from heaven. In whose name we pray. Amen.